Guest Author - Susan Taylor
Becoming a member of a local orchid society is one of the best ways to learn about orchid growing in your area and getting involved in the activities of that club is particularly rewarding. You will make friends with others who share your interests – be they one particular type of orchid or windowsill growing.
Most societies have smaller groups such as beginning growers who learn how to grow their orchids better, especially under local conditions. Intermediate groups work on learning more about specific orchids and many societies are associated with judging centers where in depth study of many orchids is conducted.
One of the most interesting activities that you can do is to become involved with a show. There are always many opportunities to help, from setting up the exhibits, to security positions watching that no plants are carted off. There are of course other opportunities at a show such as selling tickets, helping with hospitality, working with vendors, etc. Any of these will help out the society and give you a chance to become better acquainted with your fellow members.
During a show there is also the opportunity to clerk with the judges who will be assessing the plants and the exhibits to determine which wins which prizes. You’ll find this particularly interesting as you can listen to the judges discussing the merits of each plant they review as well as the comments against the plant or flower. This was a real eye-opener to me when I first did it and I recommend that everyone who is truly interested in orchids try it at least once. It will also give you a perspective on what judges are looking for in exhibits so that when you try one of your own you will have an idea of what to do.
As part of their educational mission, many societies will hold seminars during the year. There are opportunities to help there as well as the chance to learn more about your hobby. Do take the time to go to one or more of these if you are able. You’ll learn more about your hobby and will get a chance to spend more time with people who are interested n the same thing you are. There is a lot of work involved in setting up these seminars and help is always appreciated. Contact the chairs of the committee putting on the show to see what you can do to make it run smoothly.